Strike up another one for local politics. The commission voted 3 yea's to 0 nay's for: "Adopting a Resolution implementing Vote Centers on Election Day in Mesa County, beginning with the August 2006 Primary Election and thereafter."
The discussion ran over 3 hours, with 1 hour for the Clerk and 2 hours against. It was obvious that they had their minds made up before we had even begun. We drove home that the proposed voting centers will cost at least one million dollars more than traditional precinct polling. We drove home that the only safe ballot is a paper ballot. We submitted documentation showing that that this is an unproven technology. We said over and over that citizens were not allowed any input and the "task force" was hand-picked for voting center approval. The fix was in and the Citizens were denied any recourse. I believe this will be a sad day in the history of Mesa County.
In the face of all logic and stewardship they voted to proceed. All three commissioners had the mantra: "Vote centers will eliminate provisional ballots", "Paperless voting is the future and Mesa County needs to be in front", "Vote centers are a part of evolution of a new voting culture." How much rehearsal they must have had!
There was no logic as to their decision. Could the SOS have pushed hard to make this happen and the Mesa Clerk responded? They kept pushing ADA DRE's (electronic ballot w/paper) for every vote except absentee. I think this was mandated higher than Mesa County. There is absolutely no reason to have every machine be the ADA DRE -- Larimer County uses OCR for their Vote Centers, and all of these DRE’s will double the cost.
Short of flooding the hearing with several hundred people, there was no way to change its outcome. I made a conscious effort to not involve The Daily Sentinel before the hearing, hoping that two of the commission would use logic and common sense. Maybe that's where I lost. I know that I would have been crucified, demonized and made to look like an ancient relic wanting the "old fashioned" voting systems. I don't think I could have found one hundred people to show up at the hearing yesterday.
Only time will tell.
Carl Boydstun, Mesa County Taxpayer